Cytopathology is a branch of pathology that studies and diagnoses diseases on the cellular level. The discipline was founded by Rudolf Virchow in 1858. A common application of cytopathology is the Pap smear, used as a screening tool, to detect precancerous cervical lesions and prevent cervical cancer.
Cytopathology is also commonly used to investigate thyroid lesions, diseases involving sterile body cavities (peritoneal, pleural, and cerebrospinal), and a wide range of other body sites. It is usually used to aid in the diagnosis of cancer, but also helps in the diagnosis of certain infectious diseases and other inflammatory conditions.
The cytopathology department receives approximately 2000 diagnostic specimens and 25,000 (hospital and community) cervical samples. The team includes biomedical scientists, medical laboratory assistants, clerical and administrative staff and three of the five pathologists have an interest in and report cytopathology.